Shafali Verma, 15, on Tuesday became the youngest women player to play Twenty20 International (T20I) for India, when she took field in the first T20I against South Africa at Lalabhai Contractor Stadium, Surat . Shafali is the second youngest to play an international match for the Indian team after Gargi Banerji. Soon after receiving her maiden international cap, Shafali Verma walked out to bat as South Africa skipper Sune Luus won the toss and opted to field. Verma, however, failed to make any mark on her international debut as she faced only four deliveries and walked back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers in the series opener.
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) September 24, 2019
Verma’s opening partner Smriti Mandhana scored 21 off 16 balls but departed in the last over of powerplay.
Another youngster Jemimah Rodrigues tried to pull things back and build the innings but fell on 19 in the 10th over. Thereafter, Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur scored quick-fire 43 off 34 balls but didn’t get the ample support from the other end as wickets kept falling.
Wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia’s late cameo (11 off 5 balls) down the order helped India reach a fighting total in Surat. The Indian innings ended at 130/8 in 20 overs.
While the Indian batters failed to impress in the first innings, the bowlers came to the party and successfully defended a modest total, winning the match by 11 runs.
The Indian bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals which never allowed South Africa to get ahead in the game. Apart from Mignon du Preez, who scored 59 off 43, no other South African batswoman could pose any challenge to the Indian bowlers.
All-rounder Deepti Sharma picked up three wickets, conceding just eight runs in four overs. She bowled three maidens and won the Player of the Match award. Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav and Radha Yadav picked up two wickets apiece, while captain Harmanpreet Kaur accounted for one dismissal.